Children of the Corn

Movie review by
Charles Cassady Jr., Common Sense Media
Children of the Corn Movie Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
Classic Stephen King horror, hardly popping.
  • R
  • 1984
  • 92 minutes

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 12 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 40 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

A couple of stalwart, happily married (but reckless driving) grownups are in the lead roles, surrounded by mostly fanatical and violent kids, who are more interesting characters, alas. Two of the smallest children are friendly and helpful. The hero, an emergency-room doctor, has no problem abandoning an unconscious marauder at the end.

Violence

Abundant throat-slashings, stabbings, beatings, climactic explosions. A juvenile is struck by a car. A dog is killed (offscreen), and another character's hand forced is toward a deli meat slicer (though we don't get to see the results). A willing human sacrifice cuts himself in ritual bloodletting.

Sex

A radio preacher says "fornicator" (without defining it), and that's about all.

Language

Christ's name in vain (ironically).

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Children of the Corn is filled with bloody violence, including a wholesale massacre of adults by their own children. The portrayal of a community run by kids who have killed all the parents isn't remotely pleasant or idealized, but it's still disturbing.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byjcmcdowell May 3, 2021

A Classic, But Not for the Entire Family

This is a very entertaining, gripping classic! I really liked it! I would say that there is a lot of violence, but there are a few exaggerations, too. The revie... Continue reading
Adult Written byCosplaykat November 6, 2020
Teen, 13 years old Written byminyjimmorrison October 19, 2020

Love it..Bit violent

I watched this movie for the first time when I was 9, but I have always been very mature for my age and been able to handle that kind of stuff but I definitely... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old October 16, 2020

Not my favorite horror movie, still good & worth watching!

The plot was just a teensy bit hard to get but other than it it's definitely worth watching.

What's the story?

A shocking tone is set from the start of CHILDREN OF THE CORN, as kids in the incredibly insular and religious farming town of Gatlin, Nebraska, methodically poison, bludgeon, slash, and kill their parents and take over. Three years later, a young doctor (Peter Horton) and his wife (Linda Hamilton) stumble across Gatlin's secret in the worst way, running over a mortally wounded boy trying to escape. Bloody religious icons on the victim lead the couple to investigate the desolate town. Eventually, they learn that all of the kids belong to a strict cult founded by Isaac (John Franklin), an influential boy preacher who forbids music and games and leads Christian-like worship of "He Who Walks Behind the Rows," a demonic entity that demands human sacrifice of anyone over 18.

Is it any good?

With a chanting soundtrack and an effectively creepy sunlit vibe, this film does raise some shudders -- then wrecks the momentum with cheap gore and a feeble finale. Depending on what the low-budget special effects allow, He Who Walks Behind the Rows sometimes looks like a burrowing underground shape, a weird cloud, or a glowing cartoon. Far scarier are the juvenile actors, who really do a good job making the "children of the corn" a threatening tribe of youthful fanatics with farm-implement weapons.

Besides killer kids, Children of the Corn manipulates anxieties and stereotypes about the American heartland. Instead of Satanists, with their goat horns and red capes, this group is a caricature of ultra-conservative and Evangelical churches, resembling the Amish or Mennonites -- that is, before they transform into a child cult that crucifies victims on corn stalks.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Children of the Corn's ultimate message, that fire-and-brimstone fundamentalist Christianity (at least Hollywood's stereotype of it) has let the barn door open for a demonic force to enter and take over rural Gatlin, Nebraska. Those in religious households can check out the Bible passages that this movie uses to support its dire warning about false prophets. On the whole, is this movie favorable to faith or against it?

Movie details

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